Book Reviews

Book Review: “Stalking Jack the Ripper” by Kerri Maniscalco

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Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper (#1, Stalking Jack the Ripper)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication Date: Sept. 20, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Suspense, Horror
Format: Audio book, Library, Hardcover, Purchased
Pages: 326

My Rating: ★★★★★

Find the Book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | iBooks | Target| Book Depository

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Synopsis:

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

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Review:

Initial Thoughts:

I saw so many of the bloggers I followed posting about the sequel to this book, Hunting Prince Dracula, and I got curious because of the intriguing title. So I looked up what the first book was and was hooked just by the title, Stalking Jack the Ripper. Prior to reading this, I hadn’t really read any books about Jack the Ripper (well, there was one part in one of the Tales from Shadowhunter Academy but that was a novella) so I was further intrigued and decided to borrow the audio book from Overdrive. My friend and I listened to it during one road trip we had and I immediately fell in love with the writing and narrator’s voice. We didn’t get very far into the book during that trip because I was so busy and exhausted by the end of it, but that little taste I had of Stalking Jack the Ripper already made me crave more.

Things I Liked:

Do you know that elated feeling you get when you absolutely fall in love with the first book in a series and then get all excited because you know there’s more books with the same characters you now love? I just finished reading this a few hours ago and that’s how I still feel now. I utterly and completely loved everything about this book!

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There is such a colorful cast of characters that bring so many different elements to the overall story. My top favorite was definitely Audrey Rose though. I absolutely love, love, love her! She’s incredibly smart, brave, stubborn, and a feminist. While working resiliently to discover the identity of Jack the Ripper, she’s also resisting and fighting society’s traditional and misogynistic views on women. She’s fierce and so very brave but is also very feminine, and I really love that about her. I don’t see many heroines who are brave but also allowed to be feminine too, so it was awesome to finally get one.

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I didn’t like Thomas at first, but after a few more chapters in I realized he reminded me a lot of Jace and Will from the Shadowhunter Chronicles and that epiphany made me instantly adore him. He’s ridiculously smart, arrogant, and socially awkward because he doesn’t exactly know how to get along with most people. Even though he’s constantly getting on Audrey Rose’s nerves because of his arrogance, he’s one of the first (and few) male characters to admire her intellect and believe in her skills, and never viewed her as inferior due to her gender.

Kerri’s writing is gorgeous and the narrator did an amazing job bringing her words to life. I adored her portrayals of all the different characters; each one was different and helped me picture the character better and didn’t confuse me at all. I hate it when narrators use the same tone or accent for multiple characters because then I get confused as to who is speaking. Kerri’s writing is so descriptive and vivid, I actually felt like I was in Victorian London, going through this mystery with all the characters. Their voices felt very genuine, too.

While I already knew the general story behind Jack the Ripper and the horrendous murder spree he committed from watching a few documentaries on the History Channel, this was the first work of fiction related to it that I have read. Even though the main objective was to find and stop Jack the Ripper, I love how the story highlighted the investigation and the tragedy of the lives lost in the murders, and did not focus on the Ripper himself like history did. It really made me feel invested in the investigation and empathize with the victims and their families.

Things I Disliked:

The only thing that bothered me (and it’s a very minor thing compared to everything else that I loved about this book) was all the gore and gruesome descriptions when I first started reading the book. I guess I should’ve figured considering it was a story involving Jack the Ripper, but the vivid descriptions of all the postmortems, bodies of the murdered women, etc. took me by surprise and I literally felt ill. I was in the car when we first started the book and one of the reasons why I kind of zoned out was because I started to feel nauseous and I wasn’t exactly sure whether it was from the car or the narrator on the speakers describing how it felt to dig into a cadaver and search for the liver. So, yeah, a little warning would’ve been nice. Haha

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Final Thoughts:

Suspenseful and captivating, Stalking Jack the Ripper had me at the edge of my seat trying to figure out the mystery along with our heroes, squealing over the romantic scenes (can someone say, “new OTP”?), and cringing at the horrific and gruesome descriptions. And I loved every minute of it. All the mystery and suspense had me so enthralled, I could not put the book down! I’m not even kidding, I borrowed the audio book just to listen to it while I showered, cooked, cleaned, etc. so I can say with confidence that I officially have a new favorite series and I cannot recommend it enough! If you love Gothic horrors, mystery, suspense, a fierce and feminine heroine, definitely pick this up ASAP!

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About the Author:

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Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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This was actually the first suspense/horror book I’ve ever read and finished, and I’m kind of proud of that. Haha I’m kind of a chicken when it comes to horror in books because they tend to linger in my mind and induce nightmares, which I would rather avoid thank you very much. Thankfully, this didn’t give me nightmares but it’s probably because the mystery aspect of it had me so captivated.

Have you read Stalking Jack the Ripper yet? What are your thoughts on suspenseful horror books? Let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: “Stalking Jack the Ripper” by Kerri Maniscalco

    1. Thanks, Raven! 🙂 How are you?

      I’m so looking forward to reading the next book, Hunting Prince Dracula! Trying to hold off for now due to review deadlines, but I am also really dying to get my hands on Escaping from Houdini too! 😥 Been scouring the arcs for trade tag for weeks now, but no luck yet.

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